News

WestRock Unveils East Edisto Conservancy, Board: +53,000 Lowcountry Acres Protected in Perpetuity

February 25, 2016

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. -  FEBRUARY 25, 2016 -  WestRock today unveiled the final touches on its regional vision plan for East Edisto, a 72,000-acre, 19-mile long area stretching from Hollywood to Summerville and spanning the area from the Edisto River to Highway 165.

The East Edisto Conservancy will protect more than 53,000 acres in perpetuity. To assure this, WestRock has endowed the Conservancy with $1.6 million to fund the ongoing conservation and protection of the land.

“The careful planning and preservation of East Edisto started nine years ago, and presented an opportunity for WestRock and our partners to be part of the solution for growth in the Lowcountry,” said Kenneth T. Seeger, president, WestRock Land and Development. “Our new East Edisto Conservancy is a single purpose entity entrusted to monitor and enforce density restrictions in perpetuity.”

“This landmark conservation agreement on more than 53,000 acres of land between the Ashley and the Edisto spans two counties and three major watersheds.  It proves that commerce and conservation can not only coexist, but that they can dramatically enhance each other,” said Dana Beach, executive director, Coastal Conservation League. “It is important to remember that the stage for this achievement was set decades ago, with the pioneering efforts in the ACE basin and on Sandy Island, where creativity and collaboration merged to produce unprecedented conservation results.”

Over the past nine years, WestRock has worked with hundreds of community members, conservation leaders, and representatives of local government to develop a vision for East Edisto that can be summed up in four cornerstones:

  • Create jobs before homes,
  • Establish sustainable towns and villages,
  • Provide educational opportunities, and;
  • Maintain and preserve the character of the Lowcountry.

“The vision plan for East Edisto was driven by community input,” said Seeger. “We built the Pine Hill Business Campus before we started homes in Summers Corner, Spring Grove recently received final approval, and now we are introducing the East Edisto Conservancy.”

The restrictions granted by WestRock will assure no development will occur along the Edisto River and that the remainder of the land is restricted to very low rural densities.

The East Edisto Conservancy will be governed by a board of conservation leaders and two landowners.  Its members are as follows:

  • Charles Lane, chair, ACE Basin Task Force
  • Raleigh West, director, Lord Berkeley Conservation Trust
  • Michael McShane, member, Board of Directors, Ducks Unlimited
  • Kenneth  Seeger, president, WestRock Land and Development
  • William “Mac” Baughman, WestRock Land and Development